When Montana's season ended last March with a loss to Texas A&M in the first round of the NIT, Jordan Gregory knew his college basketball days were finished but thought the beginning of his pro career couldn't be that far from getting started.
Teams throughout Europe came calling. But one by one, for this reason or another, they eventually stopped and Gregory was left wondering if he'd ever get a chance to play professionally.
That is until January, when the Rockhampton Rockets of Australia's Queensland Basketball League reached out to Montana's 14th all-time leading scorer and signed him to a one-year contract.
"I'm really excited," Gregory said. "I think it will be a good experience. ... It had been a really long eight months since I started trying to play overseas so I'm really glad it worked out."
Rockhampton won the Queensland Basketball League championship in 2013 and 2014, and has won five championships in the league's 30-year existence.
When Gregory joins Rockhampton in April, he will join former Grizzlies Will Cherry, Jordan Hasquet, Kareem Jamar and Brian Qvale in various professional leagues overseas. Cherry and Qvale are in Germany, Hasquet is in Luxemborg and Jamar is playing in Cyprus.
Gregory had returned to Pueblo, Colorado, and started training for a professional career overseas. He had conversations with a number of teams and was told he was a finalist for several jobs, but each team eventually pulled their offers and then the phones went silent.
A prolific scorer during his time at Montana, Gregory displayed many attributes that European general managers are looking for in guards. Gregory first arrived on the scene in Missoula as a shooter who knocked down 40 percent of his 3-pointers as a sophomore.
As his game evolved, Gregory showed an ability to get to the rim and then as a senior leader of a team that won the Big Sky regular season title last year, he was equally comfortable working off ball as he was bringing it up court and directing the offense. Montana head coach Travis DeCuire often moved Gregory to point during close games when Montana had to maximize its possession.
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Even still, the European teams invariably went in a different direction.
"I had kind of almost given up trying to play basketball because there was just nothing working out," said Gregory, who averaged 17 points per game last season.
"That's probably what the most frustrating thing was," Gregory added. "I saw a lot of guys from the Big Sky Conference who were my exact size and my position who didn't have the stats I had or the success at the team level and they got jobs. It was really confusing for me."
Gregory took a job as a substitute teacher and helped coach his old high school while working out and hoping for another opportunity. It finally came when a Rockhampton representative contacted him in January. After a couple discussions with the general manager and coach Neal Tweedy, Gregory signed his contract and will head out to the town on Australia's west central coast in April.
Gregory said he was glad that he's going to start out in a country where he understands the language and is somewhat familiar with the culture. When the Griz played Northern Colorado in January, Gregory asked former teammates Fabijan Krslovic and Jack Lopez about the country. Both Krslovic and Lopez are from Sydney, situated on the the southwestern coast, but were able to give some insights into the country and its culture.
"Going to Australia is going to be pretty cool and it's going to be a good starting point as opposed to some place in Eastern Europe where I'm not understanding anything," Gregory said.
Despite signing his first professional contract, Gregory still has some pent up frustration from the time he had to sit and wait and intends to bring that to Australia with him.
"I think I had a pretty good senior year and our teams at Montana were always successful," Gregory said, "so I'm kind of pissed off that I had to wait this long. But now that I have my opportunity to show what I can do I'm really motivated to go out there and show those guys that overlooked me that I can really play."